No.14 Illinois vs. Cincinnati


Good afternoon from Kansas City! Jeremy Werner here at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. I will be flying solo as our Derek Piper fell with a non-COVID illness and was unable to make the trip, despite providing his analysis from home. I will provide updates throughout tonight’s game.

FINAL: Cincinnati 71, Illinois 51: We are done here. Ouch.

Cincinnati 63, Illinois 44; 2:46 left 2H: Austin Hutcherson, RJ Melendez and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk are making an effort, but it says something that they are on the pitch so late. A second consecutive implosion and defeat is about to be final.

Cincinnati 56, Illinois 36; 9h11 on the left 2h: Guys, it’s not getting any better. Illinois hasn’t fired for 9 minutes.

Cincinnati 46, Illinois 35; 2:19 p.m. on the left 2 a.m.: The frustration is apparent. Illinois can’t knock anything down, all three open and fastbreak layup attempts. Turnovers are botched. They are on a 4:16 scoring drought and have four turnovers in the last 4:16. Illinois has only made 3 of its last 21 shots.

And Cincinnati is just playing harder right now. Disappointing effort.

Cincinnati 46, Illinois 35; 4:54 pm on the left 2:00 am: Halftime didn’t help, apparently. Cincinnati pour it over Illinois as defense and rebounds are gone. The Illini are dazed and risk losing their second game in a row and their standings.

It’s now a 38-12 run for Cincinnati, including that 7-0 run as the start of the second half stands 12-4.

Will a leader emerge? Andre Curbelo is on the bench with three fouls. Jacob Grandison had a bad game and Trent Frazier is 0-5 FG.

HALF: Cincinnati 34, Illinois 31

To recap, Illinois had a 23-8 lead after shooting 9-16 to start the game. But Cincinnati had a 26-8 run to end the half to take the lead with Illinois shooting 2 for its last 15. What a disastrous 11 minutes to end the half as Illinois

This team needs to find consistency, especially on offense, and a team that ravs about their shooters needs those shooters to shoot well.

Illinois 29, Cincinnati 28; 3h41 remaining 1H: Illini’s offense is in a funk (1 for the last 10 FG), and the defense is starting to look affected as Cincinnati is on a 20-6 run and has managed 8 of their 12 last shots.

The Illini are 2-10 of three, and Frazier (0-4 FG), Jacob Grandison (0-3 FG) and Coleman Hawkins (1-2) need to provide some offense.

Andre Curbelo turned his ankle back on the pitch and let out a scream but stayed in the game.

Illinois 24, Cincinnati 17; 7:25 hours remaining 1 hour: The Bearcats aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Cincinnati is coming off a 9-1 run as Illinois went through a 3:57 drought. That’s all Curbelo and Cockburn offensively so far. Those two are 8 for 10 FG while the rest of the Illini are 1 for 10. Illinois have missed their last four field goals.

Illinois 23, Cincinnati 8; 11:38 remaining 1 hour: I think André Curbelo will be fine. The second-year point guard is off to a good start after a tough game at Marquette. He has just started a personal 8-0 run, showing great patience on a possession to win a lay-up followed by his first three of the season followed by a quick break and a finish. He then just fed Cockburn for two easy layups. Curbelo has 8 points, 4 turnovers. Illini’s stint was fantastic. Cockburn already has 12 points.

Illinois 11, Cincinnati 4; 3:25 p.m. rest 1 hour: Kofi Cockburn didn’t take long to show up in this game. In the first 2:40, he scored six points and committed two fouls, putting Cincinnati center Abdul Adoo on the bench in the third minute. Yeah, I think this team is better with him. Coleman Hawkins was also phenomenal at the start. He had three great passes and gives a lot of energy. One of the first three Alfonso Plummer drove the bench crazy. The Illini would like to see the Utah transfer gain confidence.

5:20 p.m .: Illini first-year winger Luke Goode is out tonight with back spasms, Brad Underwood said on Illini Radio Network according to WDWS ‘Scott Beatty. Goode is dressed in a uniform but hasn’t done much of the pre-game training. Austin Hutcherson is dressed. Without Goode, he may have a chance for a few minutes.

5 p.m .: Illini fans just applauded the Illini as they entered the locker room around 12 minutes before the pre-game festivities. There is a good contingent of oranges here, but the arena has a lot of open seating. A fan has a # He’sBack sign.

Kofi Cockburn is sweating for his first game. If you’ve never seen his pre-game warm-up, he uses tennis balls for hand-eye coordination and a soccer ball to work his feet and legs. But he put a little trouble on the rims in the pre-match. Illini must be happy to see this. He will be in the starting lineup tonight, alongside Andre Curbelo, Trent Frazier, Jacob Grandison and Coleman Hawkins. It’s a long, fairly busy queue. Think back to a few years ago, when Aaron Jordan was supposed to play the four and Giorgi Bezhanishvili was the starting five. The Illini’s now have a lot more length, power and versatility in their frontcourt, and Cockburn’s comeback allows everything else to fall into place.

Cincinnati was quite taken about an hour before the whistleblower. The Illini have had a goal on their back since they were ranked high in preseason last season, and they struggled to deal with that a bit early on, going 9-5 to start. The Illini must bring intensity and energy every night. They were woken up last week in a loss to Marquette, although their energy was good. It was the execution that hurt them.

I think Cincinnati is a great opponent to play next because they look a lot like Marquette. They are not very good offensively, but they have length, a strong guard and pressure on the basketball. The Illini will have a good test of how much they’ve grown over the last week of preparation. They are the most talented team and if they continue to play good defense and reduce turnovers, the Illini should play in the title game tomorrow. But Cincinnati is another good test at the start of the season.

Plus, I just saw Tyler Underwood catch up with the Kansas State Radio Team, which will call the late night game between K-State and Arkansas. They’ve known Tyler since he was a baby.

3.30 p.m .: I arrived in Kansas City yesterday, driving five hours south of Cedar Rapids on Sunday after covering Illinois football. After a day of work at the hotel yesterday, I did a necessary run this morning and have been gorging since. I had breakfast at Waffle House this morning before heading to the famous Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que – which is at a gas station, so you know it’s good – for a delicious sandwich. Z-Man (breast, onion rings, provolone) and seasoned fries. When Nathan Scheelhaase reaches out with advice from KC BBQ, you take it – and that was good advice. He also recommended Q39, so it’s lunch tomorrow.

Of course you’re not here for barbecue recommendations, Illinois basketball is having a big week with three games in five days, including two here in Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic against a competition of. high level. After a disappointing collapse at Marquette last Monday, the Illini have lost just four places in the Top 25 AP and are expected to look to make a statement.

They will have a big boost on the bench with the All-American center Kofi Cockburn make his return from a three NCAA suspension. Yes, Kofi is free, and the rest of college basketball should be a little nervous. Cockburn, the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, covers a lot of weaknesses and makes everyone else’s job a lot easier.

Don’t expect Illinois to relieve Cockburn tonight. He should get a lot of messages and touches, but Underwood doesn’t want Cockburn to be too amplified for the game. A few early fouls seem like the only thing that can slow down one of the only men in college basketball to still have an advantage against a doubles team.

“He has to let the game come to him,” Illinois coach Brad underwood told reporters on Sunday. “There’s no doubt he’s going to be excited and excited. Kofi gives you a breath of confidence, an air around him. He was dominant in practice. He was wonderful. I think he’s excited to come out and show everyone he’s worthy of a lot of the preseason hype. He is a difference maker. We had guys guarding him who I think did a great job, and he continued to evolve his game and grow. We’ll have to watch the conditioning early on, and there’s nothing like the adrenaline of a game and the thrill of a game when you haven’t played it a certain way. They can wreak havoc. We’ll be watching this early on, but we know he’s thrilled to be there and we’re thrilled to have him.

Cockburn might not be the only Illini to debut this week. Upper guard Austin hutcherson, who still hasn’t performed in an Illini uniform, will be dressed tonight, Underwood said on Sunday. There is no guarantee he will play as he hasn’t had time to relax in his role due to a tailbone injury, which comes after a back injury wiped out his entire 2020 season. -21 and that a transfer year kept him out during the 2019-20 season. Illinois will certainly be hoping to get him meaningful minutes on Friday against UT-Rio Grande Valley.

KenPom has Illinois as a 12-point favorite tonight against 4-0 Cincinnati, who have yet to face a team in the top 165 of the KenPom standings and have yet to play away. The Bearcats are in their first year under the direction of former UNC Greensboro coach Wes miller, which led the Spartans to two NCAA tournament appearances. The Bearcats don’t shoot particularly well from three (32.2%), but they don’t turn it around much and play a tough pressure defense – something Illinois struggled to manage against Marquette last week, returning it 26 times, the most for Illinois in 21 years.

Apart from Trent Frazier (23 points, 6-10 three), Illini’s guards struggled to create an attack. André Curbelo should be better with Cockburn and with the lessons learned last week. The Illini could use an offense from Da ‘Monte williams (4-20 FG) and Alphonse plummer (3-13 three, seven turnovers).

I’ll be replacing Piper on the WCIA3 pre-game show with Bret Beherns. Watch it here.

Here are some pre-game readings:


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